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Q: Is "Hogwart" a real plant or is it just Hollywood hooey? I have searched everywhere and only seem to find it in Harry Potter books.

A: First off, wort (Middle English, from Old English, wyrt) is a general botanical suffix meaning root, herb, or plant, especially an herbaceous plant.

Hogwort (Croton capitatus) is indeed a plant, Croton capitatus Michx., sometimes referred to as Wooly croton. It is an annual with erect, branched stems, densely covered with light brown, wooly hairs that give it a whitish appearance. It grows in dry, open areas, especially sandy and rocky soils, throughout the Southern United States. Hogwort contains Croton oil, a powerful cathartic that can produce a skin rash, diarrhea, colic, intense burning pain in mouth, throat, and abdomen; excessive salivation, vomiting and in rare cases, death in livestock and small animals. Some moths feed on it.

Croton oil consists chiefly of the glycerides of stearic, palmitic, myristic, lauric and oleic acids; there are also present in the form of glycerin ethers the more volatile acids as formic, acetic, isobutyric and isovalerianic acids. The active principle is believed to be Crotonic acid, which is freely soluble in alcohol. [from]

The Crotons are noted by ecologists for the role they play in environmental preservation, i.e. prevention of erosion.

Asked By : jdude
Answered By : Sophie
Published Date : 11 / 29 / 2001
Last Edited Date : 11 / 29 / 2001
Question ID : 2902

Categories: [ Plant ID ]

Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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